Last fall I discussed the Sixth Circuits ruling upholding Kentucky's ban on same sex marriage. In that decision the Sixth Circuit (the federal circuit of which Kentucky is a part) differed with the other federal circuits that had decided the issue in favor of same sex marriage. This set up a division among the circuits which allowed the issue to be presented before the United States Supreme Court. Oral arguments were heard in April and the Court issued its ruling on June 26, 2015, in a 106-page opinion penned by Justice Kennedy, which overturned the Sixth Circuit's decision and establishes the right of same sex couples to get married. This means that same-sex couples will now be able to enjoy the benefits of marriage in the Bluegrass State such as intestacy laws, filing joint tax returns, employee benefits, etc.
Governor Steve Beshear appeared to do a full about-face on the issue. Beshear made headlines last year when he hired outside counsel to represent the state in an appeal after Commonwealth Attorney General, Jack Conway, refused to appeal Judge John G. Heyburn's opinions in Bourke v. Beashear and Love v. Beshear. The governor sent a letter to all one hundred twenty county clerks to immediately begin issuing marriage licenses. The state government has already prepared gender neutral versions of forms which will be sent out to all counties.
Regardless of your political views, same sex marriage is now the law of the land. That means that same sex couples can also get divorced. Therefore, they may want to go back and read the archives of the Kentucky Divorce Blog or start reviewing family law attorneys just to be prepared.
Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey
Labels: gay marriage, same sex marriage; gay marriage; marriage equality; equal protection